There has been a great deal of hype in the technical media about Cloud Computing – but to many it is just the latest buzz word, like many that have gone before to re-invigorate the industry and it’s market place.
So what is it all about?
In my mind it is about the development of the computing or the computer itself – and to some extent it is about going full circle. When computers were first introduced into businesses they were either very large main frames initially only accessed by operators to enter data and produce information as reports. As the computer developed businesses were able to buy smaller computers – called ‘minis’ – which were about the size of a large chest freezer, still with limited computing power – but now accessed by a larger group of staff using dumb terminals – that is just a key board and a screen – to carry out data entry and complete basic business functions such as raising invoices or checking customer information.
However with the development of the IBM desk top – everything changed – instead of one computer storing data and running programmes – there were hundreds even thousands of computers running multiple instances of programmes and storing some data locally. This has been the most important development – it is what has allowed every home to have PC and there to be a massive development in personal computing – but not perfect at the corporate level.
In business the PC has led many problems – making sure that every PC has the same version of the software, data security and safety from viruses. These problems have been an enormous cost to industry in general and have been source of much of the income that has fueled the growth of the industry titans.
So what if we just had one massive computer that businesses could use to carry out essential function and process data. A computer that spanned the world, a computer that was part of the Internet. It is this concept that is being championed by major players such as Google and the social networking sites that already provide Internet Application Service which will in the way we all work – only needing a PC, Laptop or phone that can access the Internet to use them.
But not all agree (See Guardian on-Line) – Richard Stallman sees the cloud computing as a way of commercializing much of what is now free.
Why Cloud? – well when network diagrams are drawn areas of a network which are basic input output systems where it is not essential to know the detail of were represented by a cloud symbol. Similarly where as network access the Internet or links via the Internet the Internet is represented as a cloud.